Title

The zinc cluster transcription factor Rha1 is a positive filamentation regulator in Candida albicans

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-4-2022

Journal

Genetics

Volume

220

Issue

1

DOI

10.1093/genetics/iyab155

Keywords

Candida albicans; ZCFs; biofilms; filamentation

Abstract

Zinc cluster transcription factors (TFs) are essential fungal regulators of gene expression. In the pathogen Candida albicans, the gene orf19.1604 encodes a zinc cluster TF regulating filament development. Hyperactivation of orf19.1604, which we have named RHA1 for Regulator of Hyphal Activity, generates wrinkled colony morphology under nonhyphal growth conditions, triggers filament formation, invasiveness, and enhanced biofilm formation and causes reduced virulence in the mouse model of systemic infection. The strain expressing activated Rha1 shows up-regulation of genes required for filamentation and cell-wall-adhesion-related proteins. Increased expression is also seen for the hyphal-inducing TFs Brg1 and Ume6, while the hyphal repressor Nrg1 is downregulated. Inactivation of RHA1 reduces filamentation under a variety of filament-inducing conditions. In contrast to the partial effect of either single mutant, the double rha1 ume6 mutant strain is highly defective in both serum- and Spider-medium-stimulated hyphal development. While the loss of Brg1 function blocks serum-stimulated hyphal development, this block can be significantly bypassed by Rha1 hyperactivity, and the combination of Rha1 hyperactivity and serum addition can generate significant polarization even in brg1 ume6 double mutants. Thus, in response to external signals, Rha1 functions with other morphogenesis regulators including Brg1 and Ume6, to mediate filamentation.

Department

School of Medicine and Health Sciences Student Works

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